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Stress in the workplace

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Stress in the workplace can have a profound impact on both businesses and their employees. Many factors impact the health and wellbeing of employees, including anxiety about Covid 19, problems at home, unmanageable workloads, low morale, work-life balance and lack of job satisfaction. Stress at work is more common than you might think. According to the HSE, 17.9 million working days were lost to stress, anxiety or depression in 2019/20.

The good news is that there are lots of ways to manage stress in the workplace.

Here are just some of the ways that employers and employees can successfully manage stress in the workplace.

Ensure employees have the right skillset

One of the major causes of work-related stress is that employees can feel out of their depth in their job, leading to low self-esteem and worry. Address this by ensuring employees have access to appropriate training through an apprenticeship programme or other job-specific courses. An employee’s performance review is an excellent opportunity to review their skills and training needs. Apprentices and employees should themselves take steps to speak to their managers if they feel they need additional training. In most cases, employers will ensure employees have the opportunity to develop any skills they need which they don’t already have.

Lead by example

All managers should always lead by example when it comes to managing stress. For instance, they should model openly accessing support for their own stress-related issues. This can go far in helping to break down any organisational and cultural taboos associated with mental health.

Leaders should also demonstrate healthy habits such as taking time to de-stress when things get too much, exercising, taking regular breaks and ensuring that they use their holiday entitlement. All of these healthy habits will rub off on the rest of the workforce.

Implement workplace wellness schemes

The health and wellbeing of employees should always be a top priority, and it’s essential to recognise the many benefits that come hand in hand with workplace wellness schemes. Implementing employee wellness schemes such as organising a discount at a local gym or organising team building days or activities employees can participate in during their lunch hour can help your workforce switch off and de-stress!

A healthy work-life balance

Life can be incredibly challenging, especially when it comes to managing work, family and friends. With this in mind, all employees should be encouraged to adopt a healthy work-life balance! Encourage them to take time out when needed, make sure they take frequent breaks and show a willingness to provide support for any life challenges they might face.

Communicate with your employees

On that note, you should always take the time to communicate regularly with your employees, whether they are apprentices or senior staff.  Make sure everyone is kept up to date with changes within the business. Also, regular check-ins to ensure staff are happy at work can work wonders in terms of staff morale. Communication is key to wellbeing in any working environment.

Regular 121s and performance meetings are also incredibly important as they give employees the chance to keep track of their performance, discuss any concerns and open up about how they would like to progress. This can all help to reduce stress and anxiety.

Create a chill-out zone

It’s often the case that many employees need a time out during their working day, especially when it comes to escaping their desk and computer screen.

With this in mind, it’s a great idea to create a chill-out space in your office where employees can zone out, take a moment to relax and re-energise. This shows that you prioritise staff wellbeing and recognise that stress in the workplace is common. If you are an employee and your employer has made this available, it’s worth making a conscious effort the utilise this space effectively.

Don’t be afraid to admit you are stressed

Finally, if you are an employee, you should never be afraid to admit you are stressed. Life and work are challenging and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed during your career. The key to handling stress is getting the help and support you need at work and practising workplace wellness, which most employers actively promote.

How can TRS Training help?

As part of our package of services for apprentices and apprentice employers, TRS Training can offer advice and support for staff wellbeing. If you are an apprentice who is experiencing mental health challenges such as stress or an employer who is concerned about one or more of your apprentices, please contact your TRS trainer. They will take steps to support both the apprentice, and you as their employer. We have two mental health coaches, trained to provide specialist support and guidance.

Additional resources:

Mental Health Foundation: How To Support Mental Health At Work

CIPD: Stress in the Workplace

Mind: Coping with Going into Work During Coronavirus

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